"Modern Family," gearing up to make a run for its fifth straight Best Comedy Emmy, has become an unprecedented success in the United States, tackling the new era of complicated families in a light, almost off-hand way. So really, it is no surprise that a foreign production is trying to work that formula in its own market by recreating the show. The only thing is, Iran’s unsanctioned version of "Modern Family," entitled "Haft Sang," is decidedly less modern.
Iranian sanctions on broadcast television are consistent with the society’s strict social conservatism, which is much of what makes American television so enticingly illegal in Iran. From simple, innocent regulations like no alcohol on screen, to some much more harmful, any Iranian remake is going to lack some elements of its American counterpart. Among those elements is the inflexible attitude towards sexuality in Iran: "Haft Sang" loses much of "Modern Family"’s appeal after making the shocking decision to change Cam and Mitch — the show’s landmark gay couple — into a heterosexual couple, as well as changing the gender of one of the Dunphy daughters to avoid depicting cross-sex premarital friendships.
In the eyes of many of "Modern Family"’s viewers, Cam and Mitch are the highlight of the award-winning show. Eric Stonestreet, who plays Cameron, has been awarded the Best Supporting Actor Emmy twice, and he and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell have been nominated for the award a total of seven times. Eliminating the dynamic of these two crucial characters, who adopted a daughter back in the pilot episode, dramatically shifts the show’s charm.
"Haft Sang" has aired two episodes, which are almost identical recreations of "Modern Family"’s first two episodes. Below is a side-by-side presentation of the two programs, which are strikingly similar, but clearly very different.